Youth Parliamentarians with Youth Commissioner, David Brathwaite, (left) during the orientation session at Accra Hotel, Christ Church. (Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment)

The Barbados National Youth Parliament membership (BNYP) has been boosted with a record number of 92 applicants seeking to become Youth Parliamentarians.

On Monday, July 11, 2022, 63 of these young persons, including current members, embarked on an intensive training programme at the Accra Beach Hotel in Christ Church.

Coordinated by the Division of Youth Affairs, the training and experiential sessions will focus on parliamentary procedure, debating skills, rules and procedures governing the conduct of government business, effective communication and will include a tour of the Barbados Parliament and a Parliamentary Debate.

In his welcome and opening remarks on Monday, Senior Youth Parliamentarian, Pierre Cooke Jr., stated that he was “very happy to see so many aspiring youth parliamentarians.” He also emphasized that youth parliament is a developmental programme that provides support to its members.

Shortly after Youth Commissioner, David Brathwaite, led the group in a team building and ice breaker exercise to get the eager participants ready for the intensive work ahead. 

In delivering an overview and presentation on the Barbados National Youth Parliament programme, Director of Youth Affairs, Cleviston Hunte, informed the youth parliamentarians that they had joined a cadre of young people across the region, participating in a similar programme.

He pointed out that there were several benefits to be gained as a member of the organisation, and emphasized that the Youth Parliament programme, was critical to the views of the young people being voiced by young people.

“Your voices must be heard, so you can shape your future,” he said, “so that action can be taken on your behalf.” Mr. Hunte told the participants that it was important for all young people to know and understand politics in the generic sense.

Director of Youth Affairs, Cleviston Hunte, delivering his overview and presentation on the Barbados National Youth Parliament programme. (Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment)

The Barbados National Youth Parliament was officially relaunched on June 18, 2014. Membership is open to individuals, students and members of youth organisations and clubs, aged 14 to 23. It is facilitated by the Youth Development Programme of the Division of Youth Affairs in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment.

The BNYP is an opportunity and a platform for young people to learn about politics, democracy, representation and the parliamentary system of Barbados. Youth Parliamentarians are exposed to a series of training programmes focussed on capacity building, including researching issues, debating skills, leveraging opportunities, and representing the youth voice on national issues.

The sessions at Accra culminated on July 13, when the members of the Barbados National Youth Parliament participated in a mock parliamentary debate.

Today, the participants met again at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment to continue their training in various subject areas, such as Anti-Violence, Family Crisis, and Behind Bars: Prison Officer Perspectives.

Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment

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